University’s plea to landlords over Sunderland student accommodation

The old Monkwearmouth College on Swan Street.

The old Monkwearmouth College on Swan Street.

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UNIVERSITY bosses are becoming increasingly concerned about the number of private landlords applying to turn city buildings into student accommodation.

Fears were raised after recent applications which would see former pubs and colleges turned into students’ digs.

But those in charge of accommodating University of Sunderland students say many landlords are not consulting or working with them over their plans.

Phil Marsh, director of estates and facilities at the university, said: “We know that having quality housing attracts students to the city, so it’s important we think of things like safety and location when considering the students’ wellbeing.

“We are working with Sunderland Council on a master-plan for the city which takes into account student housing.

“If a landlord or developer is not coming to speak to us about their plans, then we can’t advise them on what we are trying to do.

“It’s important to us we know what these landlords are planning, to support our students; their care and their safety.”

University bosses say the current demand and supply of accommodation in Sunderland is about right, whereas in previous years there has been an excess of rooms available.

The university has already objected to plans to turn the former Monkwearmouth College in Swan Street into a 68-bedroom building, while residents recently raised concerns about proposals to transform the Eastender pub, in the city’s East End, into digs for 41 students.

University bosses say they appreciate they can’t stop developers pushing ahead with plans, but did urge them to get in touch.

The university provides accommodation for 1,547 students on four different sites across the city.